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Southern Voice Conference: Driving the Next Decade of Sustainable Development

National Treasury and Economic Planning CS Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u speaks at the event.

KIPPRA, in partnership with Global Centre for Policy and Strategy (GLOCEPS) and Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) hosted a the Southern Voice conference in Nairobi on 24th to 25th October 2023. The three Kenyan think tanks are part of the 66-member network of Global South think tanks in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Prof Ndungú spoke during the public event session themed: “Sustainable development goals: what the next decade means for the Global South”.

The chief guest at the event we Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, the Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury and Economic Planning.

Speaking during the public event session themed: “Sustainable development goals: what the next decade means for the Global South”, Prof Ndung’u expressed his delight at the choice of theme and Nairobi as this year’s host city for the Southern Voice Conference.

While underling the role played by think tanks in generating evidence that can reform the policy processes and capacity building, Prof Ndung’u accentuated his recognition of the pivotal role played by Southern Voice in advancing Sustainable Development Goals. The Cabinet Secretary noted the gains made through rigorous research, data generation, and evidence-based policymaking.

KIPPRA Executive Director and Chair of Southern Voice Dr Rose Ngugi.

Addressing key points that are pertinent to the economy recovery of Global South, Prof Ndung’u reiterated the need for human capital development. He called attention to health and nutrition of the population as a potential driver for economic transformation. He also noted the importance of proper leadership of critical institutions that shape achievement of SDGs in the Global South.

Prof Ndung’u further highlighted the need to develop and protect markets in order to ignite production and productivity downstream while boosting income upstream. He attributed past failures to the use of regulations as a first measure. Prof Ndung’u underscored the need for reduced interference of the markets.

The Cabinet Secretary pointed out the need for innovative domestic resource mobilization and introduction of taxation without distorting the market structure. He also encouraged the Global South to take advantage of the digitization and digital innovations to spur industrial revolution.

In his closing remarks, Prof Ndung’u urged the stakeholders to combat structural problems that have for a long time hampered the economic transformation of the Global South.

Participants at the Southern Voice Conference in Nairobi.

In their presentations, the KIPPRA Executive Director and current Chair of Southern Voice Dr Rose Ngugi, Founding Chair of Southern Voice Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya and the Southern Voice Executive Director Ms Andrea Ordóñez Llanos highlighted the network’s impact in global development and what the future holds, including how to strengthen Southern Voice’s contribution to the global development agenda. 

This event brought together leaders of Southern Voice think tanks and key partners to celebrate the network’s 10th anniversary and chart the course for the next decade of Southern development.

The conference provided an opportunity to renew and strengthen joint policy proposals from the Global South, while simultaneously galvanising commitment to rectify power imbalances within the global development community. One of the key issues that came up was the need to enhance collaborations among think tanks and policy researchers in the Global South

The event also saw the awarding of certificates to four winners of the Southern Voice Young Think Tankers Pitching Contest. KIPPRA Young Professional Mr Elvis Kiptoo emerged as one of the top ten finalists in the contest out of the nearly 300 applications reviewed.

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